Alexander The Great

  • Category: English
  • Words: 1418
  • Grade: 100
"It is a lovely thing to live with great courage and die leaving

an everlasting fame." Alexander The Great Long before the

birth of Christ, the land directly above what we know as

Greece today, was called Macedonia. Macedonia still

exists, but it is now Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and modern

Greece. Macedonia was considered to be part of ancient

Greece, but the people of these two countries couldn't be

more different. No people in history ever gave so much to

the human race as the ancient Greeks. They produced

architectural monuments, four of the greatest dramatic

actors who ever lived, one of the most brilliant statesmen

and two of the greatest historians. Scientists, philosophers

and artists all thrived in this country. The political system

we call democracy had its roots in this culture. The

Macedonians in comparison with their Greek neighbors

were crude and fierce in their outlook. They were a rough

people. They never produced any artists, philosophers, or

great actors. But they produced Alexander The Great - a

man with a legacy so remarkable that it has challenged the

minds of men ever since. Alexander was born to conquer

the world. His life was bold and from beginning to end, it

was etched with dramatic clarity. Every important event in

his life brought him one step closer to fulfilling his ambition.

He was the first leaders, like Caesar and Napoleon, who

partly be accident and partly by design, set out to gather

the whole world into their fists, unify it, rule it and enlighten

it. But unlike the other great giants of history, Alexander

was a shooting star whose blaze of glory ended with his

death, at not quite thirty-three years old"¦ Alexander was

born in 356 BC to King Philip of Macedonia and his wife,

Olympias. On the day of Alexander's birth, Philip was

away in battle. A courier brought Philip the message of his

son's birth, along with two other messages - Philip's horse

had won first prize in the Olympic Games and his army had

just won a very important battle. With three pieces of good

news at once, Philip always thought his son's arrival into the

world came with an omen of good luck. As Crown Prince

of Macedonia and at that time, his father's only heir,

Alexander was raised to inherit his father's kingdom.

Alexander was good at sports and even as a young child

showed a very ambitious streak. One of his courtiers

commented on how well he ran and suggested that he

compete in the Olympic foot races. Alexander refused and

replied that we would only run against kings, so that he

could be sure that no one threw the race in his favor. As a

young boy, Alexander began to show many of the traits

that made him famous - courage, cleverness and complete

self-confidence. Once when Alexander's father brought

home several horses, one horse in particular caught

Alexander's eye. It was an enormous black horse and one

that none of King Philip's men seemed to be able to mount

and ride. Alexander approached his father and asked for

the horse. On a dare and a bet from his father, Alexander

did what no one else had been able to do, mount and ride

the horse. The horse, Bucephalus, became one of the most

famous horses in history and for most of the sixteen years

of his life was the only horse that Alexander ever rode in

battle. When Bucephalus died, Alexander gave him a

funeral worthy of a king and named a city after him.

Alexander's education is said to have been the most

expensive in history. Philip persuaded Aristotle, the Greek

philosopher and scientist to be Alexander's tutor. In

addition to the large sum of money paid to Aristotle for his

years of service as a teacher, Philip also agreed to rebuild

the town where Aristotle had been born (which Philip had

destroyed in a raid) and permit its exiled citizens to return.

Aristotle introduced Alexander to many things, but in

particular he instilled in Alexander the love of books.

Alexander's favorite was Homer's Iliad, which he learned

by heart. Throughout his entire life, whereever he was,

Alexander slept with two things under his pillow - a dagger

for protection and a copy of the Iliad. When Alexander

was seventeen, his father left him temporarily in charge of

Macedonia while he attended state matters in Greece.

While his father was away, a tribe in a northern province,

apparently hoping to take advantage of Alexander's youth

and inexperience started a revolt. Alexander gathered his

army, marched against the rebels, beat them in battle and

captured their chief city. He renamed their city after himself

Alexandropolis. By the time Alexander was eighteen, things

were not well between his parents. What has started, as a

love match between Philip and Olympias had become a

hateful and vengeful relationship. Philip decided to marry

again, taking a second Queen. Alexander, who had always

had a good relationship with his father, but loved his mother

deeply, sided with her. During the next two years

Alexander and Philip held a troubled truce. When Philip

was assassinated, whispers emerged that his first wife,

Olympias was involved in the plot. Within days of Philip's

death, Olympias had her husband's second wife and her

infant son murdered, so as to not shed any doubt on

Alexander's claim to the throne. At twenty, Alexander was

king of Macedonia. He set about restoring order in

Macedonia and Greece with a vengeance. During this time,

a serious revolt broke out in Thebes, a city in Greece.

Alexander and his army marched against Thebes and

burned it to the ground. Over thirty thousand Thebans were

sold into slavery. In the entire city, Alexander spared only

one house - the home of a poet called Pindar, whose

poetry Alexander has always liked. The battle of Thebes

was the first of many atrocities that Alexander committed.

The memory of the battle lingered and Alexander's

reputation spread. He never had any difficulties in keeping

the Greeks in line after this campaign. Alexander admired

courage in all forms. Many times he spared the lives of

people who showed courage in the face of pain or death.

In 334 BC, Alexander set out to conquer Persia. No

expedition like it had ever been undertaken and few rival it

since. Alexander's army was small by that day's standard,

but it was very efficient. Alexander was also something of a

military genius and he systematically set about to overtake

parts of Persia in a series of smaller and victorious battles.

He then moved on to Asia Minor, the Mediterranean coast

and Egypt. By the time Alexander was twenty-four most of

the known world at that time was under his rule. In Egypt,

Alexander founded Alexandria, which is still one of the

chief world ports today. When Alexandria was completed

it was one of the most impressive cities in the world. The

streets were lettered or numbered and it was the first city in

history to have lights at night. Four years after Alexander

set out to conquer Persia he finally met the Persian king in

battle. Alexander won. The battle was called the Battle of

Arbela and marked the end of Persian power. Alexander

became King of Persia, along with being King of

Macedonia, Greece, Egypt and Asia. He was twenty-six.

Alexander married when he was twenty-eight. Because he

had spent the majority of his time since becoming an adult

in Persia, it was no surprise that he married a Persian

princess. Everyone knew that Alexander and his Queen

were friends and liked each other. But because Alexander

spent most of his life surrounded by his male friends, rather

than seek relationships with women, the marriage was

known as one of duty to produce an heir than a love match

for either Alexander or Roxana. Alexander's battle for

India was his last battle of any consequence. He won the

battle against the great Indian king, Porus. But Alexander's

army was getting tired. They had been away from home

and fighting for over eight years. After overtaking more

than 5000 towns and villages in India, Alexander's army

wanted to go home. They started the long trek back to

Macedonia. During this time, the army never lost a battle

and they never broke ranks. When they made it to Persia,

two major events happened. First, to further his political

ties with Persia, especially since he was heading back to

Macedonia, Alexander decided to marry another Persian

princess. He also orchestrated the marriages of 9000 of his

men to Persian women, just to solidify the two countries.

Second, he watched his best friend, constant companion

and general of his armies' die of fever. Alexander, mad with

grief became a drunken wreck almost overnight. He

became manic in his dealings. Alexander never returned to

Greece. He died in Persia of fever, similar in symptoms to

Malaria. After he died, Alexander was buried in Alexandia.

Roxana, Alexander's first wife and mother to his first born

son, had the second wife and her child murdered, hoping to

secure Alexander's throne. Roxana and her child were

murdered as well, and Alexander's kingdom went to one of

Alexander's generals, rather than an heir. Alexander The

Great lived a life, which in human terms has never been

matched. His contributions to history, despite his faults, will

never dim. The stories of his exploits will live forever.
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